Thursday, March 15, 2012

Flat is Beautiful - S8E3

Privyet (pree-vyet)!  That's "hello" in Russian.  Today's meal, chicken kiev is a popular Russian dish, though not originally Russian.  Chicken kiev, was invented by a Frenchman since the Empress of Russia at the time preferred French foods.  But the name "kiev" was actually coined by New York restaurant owners that were trying to please the many Russian immigrants.  It's very similar to chicken cordon bleu, but instead of ham and cheese wrapped inside chicken, it is compound butter on the inside.  Let's get started!

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning chicken
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning chicken
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 large whole eggs, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 cups Japanese bread crumbs (panko), plus 1/4 cup for filling
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
First we need to make the compound butter.  This can be done at any time before the dish is made, so I made it in the morning before dinner.  It's pretty simple, place the butter (make sure its at room temp so its semi soft or else your stand mixer won't be happy) in the stand mixer along with the herbs and teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.

Once blended, gather up the butter on some parchment paper and roll it tightly, almost like you would salt water taffy, and place it in the fridge to chill and harden a bit.  Next, if you bought whole chicken breasts, you will need to butterfly them.  I thought I'd save some money by doing this myself, but you can buy chicken breast scallopini, which are pre-flatten chicken breasts.  After butterflying them, pound them with something flat until they are no more than 1/8 an inch thick.  A trick that AB suggests is to cover the breast with plastic wrap and spritz some water on top of the chicken and on top of the plastic wrap.  This way, when you pound it, the "mallet" will slide, letting the chicken flatten and expand rather than tearing.

When you are done flattening all your chicken, place some of your compound butter and some panko crumbs in the middle of breast.  Then tightly roll/wrap the innards, using the plastic wrap to help you.  Twist the plastic wrap at the ends to maximize tightness, this will eliminate the need to use twine.  Then place the chicken wraps in the fridge so they can "stiffen".  AB says you can do this the night before, I did this the morning of.

When you are ready to cook the chicken, beat 2 eggs and a teaspoon of water into a pie tin. Then dip your chicken wraps in the egg bath first and second into a tray of panko crumbs.  Make sure to cover the wrap entirely with crumbs.

Heat about a 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a pan until the oil reaches 375 degrees.   Carefully place the breaded wraps into the pan and let them sit for about 10 minutes each (internal temperature should be 165), slow turning them over to brown the roll during this time.  When they are done, place them on a draining rack and let them sit for another 5-10 minutes to allow the oil to drail.

When completed, the compound butter will have melted and flavored the inside of the wrapped to deliciousness!  I was very surprised by the flavor, it was subtle, but enough to drown out the "fried" taste.

This was a fairly simple dish to create with great results.  Next time I think i'll add some garlic to the compound butter and buy pre-butterflied chicken breasts so I don't have to waste time pounding the chicken for an hour.

-Naris Out!

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